AMD’s simultaneous multi-threading can be enabled without running the risk of an MDS attack.
Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) vulnerabilities have emerged as the latest flaw in Intel chips, following the infamous Spectre and Meltdown attacks. The chipmaker immediately resolved the MDS attacks that were able to extract data from the latest Intel CPUs through a series of patches.
The new patch may have solved the MDS issue but has dramatically impacted performance, especially multi-threaded performance. However, Intel’s woes are about to continue with leading rival AMD claiming that its chips are immune to MDS attacks due to built-in hardware protection checks.
According to Linux-specialist site Phoronix, the new patches that resolved the MDS flaw in Intel chips significantly impacted performance. Machines powered by Intel CPUs displayed a 16-per cent performance drop with hyper-threading enabled and new updates installed, while AMD chips remained largely unaffected with a meagre 3-per cent drop in performance.
But Intel’s problems don’t end there; Apple and Google have advised users to completely disable hyper-threading, stating that it is the only way to secure the Intel-powered machine’s from MDS attacks. While its highly doubtful Chromebook users will ever have to worry about hyper-threading; MacBook owners will suffer as disabling this feature could drop performance by 40 to 50 percent depending on the application.
AMD chips, on the other hand, do not need to be patched for the new bugs. AMD’s simultaneous multi-threading – Team Red’s answer to hyper-threading – can also be enabled without any risk of MDS attacks. Hyper-threading is mainly prevalent in workstations and servers’ markets, which make up for a big chunk of Intel’s CPU sales.Phoronix also claims; “the mitigation impact is enough to draw the Core i7-8700 K much closer to the Ryzen 7 2700X” in terms of performance. The timing couldn’t have been better for Team Red with the 7-nm chips for both desktop and server applications looming over the horizon. Considering Intel’s latest woes, Team Red is in prime position to severely cut into Intel’s sale.
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